Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to include corrections regarding the Church of Scientology’s view on medical treatments.
John Travolta is undoubtedly one of the highest-profile members of the Church of Scientology. The Grease actor has stood by the controversial religion for over four decades. But in recent years, people have begun to question his dedication to the church. Here’s what we know about John Travolta’s current relationship with the Church of Scientology.
John Travolta Joined The Church In 1975
In the year 1975, John Travolta—a high school dropout and aspiring actor—was on the set of his first movie in Durango, Mexico when an actress gifted him a copy of Dianetics. After reading L. Ron Hubbard’s work, Travolta began a relationship with the Church of Scientology, and the rest was history. His career grew exponentially from there—something Travolta has accredited to Scientology’s practices.
“My career immediately took off,” Travolta recalled in a church publication. “Scientology put me in the big time.”
From that point on, Travolta never hesitated to praise the religion—even though it was under constant scrutiny from the media.
“I’ve been brought through storms that were insurmountable,” Travolta told the Tampa Bay Times in 2015. “[Scientology has] been so beautiful for me that I can’t even imagine attacking it.”
John Travolta Was Scientology’s Golden Goose
According to Leah Remini, an actress and former high-ranking Scientologist who has been outspoken against the religion since leaving it in 2013, Travolta was about as prominent as you can get within the Church of Scientology. According to Remini, Travolta is a designated “Khakhan,” which means if he were to murder someone, the church would actively assist in covering up the crime.
“[Scientology policy] basically says you can kill another human being. If you’re Khakhaned, you’re going to look the other way,” Remini said on The Joe Rogan Experience.
Of course, Remini never indicated that Travolta would ever use that alleged power. She’s consistently described Travolta as a “very sweet person” despite his dedication to what she believes is a corrupt institution. Her statements only go to show how synonymous Travolta has become with Scientology itself.
In a statement to Suggest, the Church of Scientology wrote:
“Remini is shamelessly capitalizing on her vengeance against the Church of Scientology to make money and garner attention.
The first of Remini’s many lies is her story that she left the Church in righteous protest after 30 years as a member. The truth is that Leah Remini left because she is unethical and the Church would no longer tolerate her abusive and antisocial conduct.
To spare Remini embarrassment, we said nothing. Remini immediately parlayed her past affiliation with the Church into a livelihood, contriving a “fight” of her own manufacture. She has resorted to blatant defamation, attempted shakedowns, false reports to law enforcement, and incitations to hate. Remini’s deceits, drama and lies have caused real harm, resulting in threats, violence and hate crimes against Scientologists, Church property, its clergy and leadership.”
Travolta’s wife, Kelly Preston, was also a dedicated member of the church throughout their marriage, and they raised all three of their children to practice the religion. Travolta and Preston even stayed with the church after their 16-year-old son died of a seizure in 2009.
“The church never left our sides for two years,” Travolta insisted in 2019. “I don’t know if I would have made it through without their support.”
Some People Believe John Travolta Has Defected
Despite decades of vocal support for the Church of Scientology, there have been whispers that Travolta has stopped practicing the religion. The tabloids have certainly been the loudest speculators when it comes to Travolta’s possible defection. Here at Suggest, we’ve covered countless rumors about Travolta’s alleged falling out from the church. We even confronted a tabloid for claiming Tom Cruise—Scientology’s other top dog—was trying to stop Travolta from leaving.
So where is all this chatter coming from? Is it just a rumor that snowballed, or is it something more? Well, the speculation stems from his wife’s tragic passing. In 2020, Kelly Preston passed away after a long battle with breast cancer, leaving Travolta and their two surviving children to mourn her passing.
After announcing his heartbreaking loss, Travolta raised eyebrows by openly praising Preston’s medical team: “My family and I will forever be grateful to her doctors and nurses at MD Anderson Cancer Center, all the medical centers that have helped.”
This stuck out to the public because in the past, the Church of Scientology has been accused of rejecting modern medical treatments—especially those that treat cancer. Because Travolta was so ready to not only seek outside medical treatment but publicly praise it, people wondered if it was a sign he had started to doubt the church. In an email to Suggest, the Church of Scientology refuted this, stating it does not reject modern medical treatments.
Only adding to the intrigue, the last public statement Travolta made in support of the religion was in 2019, right before Preston was diagnosed with breast cancer. He hasn’t promoted Scientology in any public circles since then, and he definitely didn’t thank the church for its support during his wife’s cancer battle.
Finally, there’s the fact that Travolta sold his waterside mansion situated just one mile from Scientology’s headquarters in Clearwater, Florida. Adding all of these clues together, it certainly seems possible that Travolta has quietly distanced himself from the church.
Is John Travolta Still A Scientologist?
What is the answer? Is he still practicing the religion or not? Well, the truth is that we just don’t know. Unless Travolta decides to shed light on the matter, there’s a chance we’ll never be certain.
It’s also entirely possible that Travolta has decided to take a more subdued approach in discussing his religion. In a recent appearance on Hart to Heart, Travolta alluded to this very possibility.
“When you’re unabashed about what you do, you don’t get attacked,” Travolta told Kevin Hart. “I think that I got attacked less because I had nothing on it. I didn’t—I wasn’t trying to hide it. If anything, I was probably more attacked at times for trying to promote it.”